Thursday, 24 March 2011


Translating for a couple of hours, then starting an essay on photography to accompany a proposed book by Justin Partyka. I'll put up parts of it here as I write it, to let the pieces hang out and dry so to speak.

In the meantime a walk in the bright sun before lunch and then the journey to London for the Ted Hughes Award and the National Poetry Competition prize giving, at which I have, briefly, to speak. We walk down the back lane behind the abbey, with the great cedar of Lebanon at one end and the old railway bridge at the other. Birdsong throughout. Goldfinches, Blue Tits (or are they Great Tits), the whistling, whibbling, the stuff I once referred to as fioratura in a poem ('...his sculptured fioratura / neat and clean as a whistle...'), that little onomatopoeic flowerlet of sound, something like the Hungarian word fütyülés, meaning 'whistling', but also as applied to birds. The Italian word purses the lips with its 'f' then practically whistles twice (fio!... tu!) in the first and third syllable of its saying: fioratura. Cousin of toora loora-lie. The walk down the lane being so good, we simply reverse our steps and walk back the same way, listening and watching out, past the abbey beyond the trees that looks so much like a nestling bird it is tempting to imagine a beak on it, past the cedar, down towards the MNR railway line, and back along the Tiffey, which looks clear and fresh.

Fortunate days in fortunate places. The sunlight on my cheek is a reminder of fortune. Good to be alive. What else is there?

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